Written by D.F. Karppi Friday, 18 September 2009 00:00As summer camp at the Boys & Girls Club of Oyster Bay-East Norwich began, so did the installation of a brand new playground at the Bahnik Youth Center clubhouse. The playground features several wave climbers, a rock climbing wall, slides, and much more and is for members ages 5 to 12.
“Built on the former basketball court, it is seen as a better utilization of the clubhouse’s space, as it addresses another aspect of child development,” said Lori Wood, Boys & Girls Club of Oyster Bay-East Norwich assistant executive director.
“Many studies have shown the importance of free play in children’s development. Play is a process by which children learn and develop physical skills, while offering them opportunities for social, emotional and judgment growth. These skills play an essential part in the development of the whole child. The club’s playground is designed to engage and promote all these skills, while offering a safe and fun environment for our members,” she said.
“The youngsters still have the use of the full gymnasium which includes a basketball court. The new use of space maximizes our property. Before if children wanted to be outside, they had use of the little courtyard in front of the club and at times, when it was not being used for games – the Marino field.
“When the members did go out on the basketball court they basically just kicked the ball around but now they will have access to a range of physical activity with the new playground equipment. Now the outside is being used optimally,” she said.
“The project was completed the last week of summer camp, the week of Aug. 10. So, the kids got to use it then. Next week when school begins they will have full access to it.
“The playground will be used as part of the free play gym time for kids in the After School program, as well as for the regular members. The full playground schedule for members is being completed now in time for the opening of school. It was a great treat for the members to enjoy as they finished summer camp and looked forward to coming to the club once the school year begins,” said Ms. Woods.
Ms. Woods added, “The Club would like to extend a special thank you to Senator Carl Marcellino, whose efforts made the grant for funding this project possible; to the Town of Oyster Bay for donating three pear trees to plant around the premises; Jimmy Longo, for donating his services to prepare the site; and to the Winter Brothers, for donating the use of a dumpster for this project.
“Further thanks to board member and Chairman of the Building & Grounds Committee, Ralph Fumante, for overseeing every aspect of the project.”
For more information, please call the Boys & Girls Club of Oyster Bay-East Norwich at 922-9285, or visit us on the web at www.bgcoben.org.